Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Most people will consider Resurrection noteworthy because it’s the film in which one of the original “final girls,” Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), “finally” dies, but I think it’s just as noteworthy as the film in which the series finally “gets jiggy with it.” For the longest time, Michael Myers’ mask wasn’t the only white thing in the Halloween movies; the cast was pretty much monochromatic through the first five entries. In 1998, though, Halloween H2O broke the streak by casting token darkie of choice LL Cool J (four out of five horror directors agree!) as comic relief.

Then, with Halloween: Resurrection, the series went all out; it may as well be called Halloween N the Hood, with the three biggest names in the film — aside from Curtis, who checks out in the first 10 minutes — being black actors… Well, one black actor (Sean Patrick Thomas), a black model (Tyra Banks) and a black rapper (Busta Rhymes). What, no NBA star?

Cashing in on both the reality TV trend and the Blair Witch Project handheld camcorder look, this film finds Rhymes and Banks setting up a House on Haunted Hill-styled spend-a-night-in-Michael Myers’-house adventure, rigging the victims — er, volunteers — with cameras for the viewing public. Things of course go awry when Michael actually shows up, butcher knife in tow. I realize that he’s a master of sneaking around and all, but how does he manage to walk around for hours in a house with, like, 10 people in it without anyone seeing him? And once they realize he’s in there, why is it so damn hard to find a way out??? Really, how difficult is it to avoid Michael at this stage in his life anyway? He’s steadily approaching retirement age, and he seems to be getting smaller and more feeble with every film.

Although Resurrection may be the worst Halloween to date (even worse than that time I dressed as O.J. and went trick-or-treating in Brentwood), it bucks two slasher traditions: the final girl doesn’t kill the killer, and the black guy (Rhymes) survives. And not only does he survive, he himself offs the baddie! (Rappers, it turns out, tend to buck the whole “black death” thing.) Final gal Sara is a woefully helpless heroine; Busta does all the work, earning the right to deliver the triumphant line, “Trick or treat, motherfucker.”

Banks and Thomas aren’t so lucky. Thomas, displaying the softness for white women that he developed during Save the Last Dance, distracts Michael from final girl Sara long enough to be impaled in classic “heroic black death” form. Banks, no doubt spending time developing her own TV show, has about as much screen time here as she did in Coyote Ugly. If only she’d died in that one, too.

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